UA FOOTBALL

Arizona football: Notre Dame's Neal leaving school

Ex-Chaparral HS star returning to Phoenix; UA has roster spot left
2013-03-28T00:00:00Z 2013-04-10T14:55:46Z Arizona football: Notre Dame's Neal leaving schoolDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 28, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Let the Davonté Neal recruiting saga begin - again.

Neal, the former Scottsdale Chaparral High School star who chose Notre Dame over Arizona and a handful of other schools, is transferring.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly confirmed the departures of Neal and fellow wide receiver Justin Ferguson following Wednesday's practice. He did not offer specifics.

"We wish them the very best in their future endeavors," he told reporters.

However, Neal's father, Luke, told 247Sports that his son is transferring to be closer to his 6-week-old daughter in the Phoenix area.

Both Arizona and Arizona State will be interested in the speedster. The UA has one available scholarship remaining for 2013.

Neal was a priority for coach Rich Rodriguez when he took over the Wildcats program in November 2011. Rodriguez hired Neal's high school coach, Charlie Ragle, and signed two of his Chaparral teammates, linebacker Cody Ippolito and defensive end Dylan Cozens. There was hope Neal would follow.

Neal was supposed to announce his decision in January 2012, but delayed his decision to February and was scheduled to visit the UA before declaring. He canceled his trip because of a death in the family and narrowed his college choices to Arizona, Notre Dame, Arkansas and North Carolina.

The recruitment got even more bizarre. He scheduled an early-morning news conference in February to announce his decision at his former elementary school, but never showed. He appeared later in the afternoon and pledged to Notre Dame.

Neal played as a true freshman for the Fighting Irish and was expected to be a contender for a starting role at slot receiver as a sophomore. He was also slated to be the team's top punt returner. He caught one pass for minus-5 yards for the Fighting Irish and had 21 punt returns for 46 yards.

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